This article explains why and how to encrypt emails.
- Do you need to encrypt emails?
- Why Encrypt Your Email?
- What it means to Encrypt an Email?
- How does Email Encryption work?
- Why Encrypting All Emails Is Vital?
Do you need to encrypt emails?
Many people doubt security is real. You don’t need complicated passwords, antivirus software, or firewalls. It’s all a ruse to scare people into buying their products and services.
There are simple steps everyone can take to secure their computers and networks, but the news is full of hype. For example, by the time it appears in a newspaper or magazine, it is likely too late for you to act.
However, you should consider encrypting your email communications as a common sense measure. Send a picture postcard to a friend or family member while on vacation to say “wish you were here.” An envelope is more likely to be used for a personal letter to the same friend or family member.
Why Encrypt Your Email?
The extra key to your house is hidden under the large rock to the left of the back porch, so you might want to send it in a security envelope with hatched lines. Other options include sending a letter certified, requesting a return receipt, and verifying a package’s contents.
So why send personal or sensitive data in an unprotected email? Sending information in an unencrypted email is like writing it on a public postcard.
What it means to Encrypt an Email?
Cryptography prevents all but the most determined hackers from intercepting and reading your emails. Using a personal email certificate from Comodo, you can digitally sign and encrypt your messages so that only the intended recipients can see them. Fill out a short and simple registration form to get your free certificate.
That adds a benefit. Using a personal email certificate to digitally sign your messages can help reduce spam and malware distribution. If your friends and family are used to receiving messages from you with your digital signature, they will recognize an unsigned message with your email address spoofing as the source and delete it.
How does Email Encryption work?
Typical email encryption uses a public and private key pair (this sort of encryption is also known as Public Key Infrastructure or PKI). Your private key is only yours. Your public key is given to anyone you choose or made public.
Someone sending you a private message would encrypt it using your public key. Because decrypting such a message requires your private key, anyone intercepting it would be left with gibberish. In order to prove that an email is truly from you, you can use your private key to digitally “sign” it.
Why Encrypting All Emails Is Vital?
Notably, you sign or encrypt all messages, not just those deemed confidential or sensitive. It’s possible for an attacker to intercept your email traffic and see that 99 percent of it is unencrypted plain-text and only one message is encrypted. It’s like adding a bright red neon “Hack Me” sign to the message.
Even a dedicated attacker would struggle to decrypt all of your messages if you encrypt them. After decrypting 50 messages that say “Happy Birthday,” “Do you want to golf this weekend?” or “Yes, I agree,” the attacker is unlikely to bother you again.